I spoke to the president three times yesterday… I said, if you can expedite designating New Jersey as a major disaster area that that would help us to get federal money and resources in here as quickly as possible to help clean up the damage here. The president was great last night. He said he would get it done. At 2 a.m. I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple of final questions and then he signed the declaration this morning. So I have to give the president great credit. He’s been on the phone with me three times in the last 24 hours. He’s been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done — as far as I’m concerned — a great job for New Jersey.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie • Lauding President Obama’s attentiveness in the face of Hurricane Sandy, in an interview on Fox and Friends this morning. Christie’s rhetoric on the President’s leadership abilities hasn’t always been so glowing — back in May, he excoriated Obama as “walking around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership.” But now, faced with a climactic disaster in his state, Christie and Obama have made nice, to the vast betterment of the citizens of his state. Obviously, holding off on political rivalries during such a chaotic and traumatic event is the right thing to do, but Christie deserves a major measure of credit for recognizing Obama’s efforts for his state. When asked whether Mitt Romney would tour some storm sites, he went much further than he needed to, showing a sincerity unbound by partisan priority: “…I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff.” source (via shortformblog)
Disaster porn dribbling in, these from an excellent slideshow by NBC. Interesting highlights: Snow storm in West Virginia; Obama was real savvy not to have an umbrella; idiots taking pictures rather than cuddling.
That blue band to the west is why this storm is so gnarly. The band is a combination of cold storms that will collide with a hot-weather Hurricane Sandy, thus the name “Frankenstorm.” Not to mention the very high-tides due to tomorrow’s full moon. These elements are why everyone is freaking out.
The band was a normal storm creeping across the U.S. from the Pacific Coast. But along the way it picked up a blast of wintery arctic air that swooped down from Canada. Sandy is pushing a lot of water towards the coastline, causing mega-damage to many properties. The tide is already high, making it worse.
Once it mashes into Hurricane Sandy over the coast, there will be mega-damage to many many properties. Frankenstorm indeed!
Unlike New Orleans, New York City is above sea level. Yet the city is second only to New Orleans in the number of people living less than four feet above high tide — nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, according to the research group Climate Central.
The waters on the city’s doorstep have been rising roughly an inch a decade over the last century as oceans have warmed and expanded. But according to scientists advising the city, that rate is accelerating, because of environmental factors, and levels could rise two feet higher than today’s by midcentury. More frequent flooding is expected to become an uncomfortable reality.
With higher seas, a common storm could prove as damaging as the rare big storm or hurricane is today, scientists say. Were sea levels to rise four feet by the 2080s, for example, 34 percent of the city’s streets could lie in the flood-risk zone, compared with just 11 percent now, a 2011 study commissioned by the state said.
A man stares at a storage tank still on fire in the Venezuelan Amuay oil refinery on August 26, 2012. Venezuela was in mourning after a massive explosion killed at least 39 people, injured more than 80 others and left about 200 houses and 13 shops damaged due to the shock wave.
The Russian oil industry spills more than 30 million barrels on land each year — seven times the amount that escaped during the Deepwater Horizon disaster — often under a veil of secrecy and corruption. And every 18 months, more than four million barrels spews into the Arctic Ocean, where it becomes everyone’s problem.
So, I came across an article this morning about an odd oil-rig protest as part of my morning read. A handful of activists are protesting the first ever oil rig in the Arctic sea. They’ve literally tied themselves to the side of big tanker ship in the Arctic.
Yeah, bizarre but it’s true. Greenpeace is live blogging it now. The Russian Coast Guard has been called in and the protesters will be in big trouble, I’m sure of it.
The oil rig is run by the largest natural gas company in the world, called Gazprom. It’s also Russia’s largest company. They’re also one of the most pollutive, hazardous companies on planet Earth. I didn’t know any of this until this morning. What do you think can be done?
This should read: "Foreign oil companies operating freely and nearly tax free on U.S. public lands evacuate oil rigs". But, what the hell do I know about copy…
"Energy companies pull staff from Isaac’s path
BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell said Friday they’re starting to evacuate staff from the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected path shifted west into a prime area for U.S. oil and gas production.
While Isaac remains a tropical storm for now as it skirts Haiti and heads for Cuba, it could strengthen into a hurricane as it moves back into the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell RDS.A+0.13%UK:RDSA+0.43% said it’s preparing for evacuations of nonessential personnel in the eastern and central Gulf of Mexico. Drilling operations there have been suspended.
BP PLC BP-0.14%UK:BP-0.20% said it’s evacuating all workers from its Thunder Horse platform in the Mississippi Canyon of the eastern Gulf and will temporarily suspend oil and gas production there. The platform has a production capacity of 250,000 barrels a day.
BP is also evacuating nonessential personnel from offshore facilities in its Na Kika, Horn Mountain and Marlin platforms.
Federal law allows the Agriculture Department to buy meat and poultry products to help farmers and ranchers affected by natural disasters.
The announcement came as Obama criticized Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan for blocking a farm bill that could help farmers cope with the drought. Obama touted his efforts to help farmers as he began a three-day tour of the battleground state he won in 2008.
“That will help ranchers who are going through tough times right now,” Obama said.
Obama said the government would boost its purchases of meat now, while prices are low, and freeze much of it for later use.
The USDA plans to buy up to $100 million of additional pork products, $50 million of chicken, $10 million of lamb and $10 million of catfish. The Defense Department, a large purchaser of beef, pork and lamb, was expected to look for ways to encourage its vendors to speed up purchases of meat.
“The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA nutrition programs,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
The USDA has spent about $37 million on pork products so far this year. If it spends an additional $100 million, that would be more than twice what the agency spent on pork in 2011.
Obama has pledged a wide-ranging response to the drought. His administration is giving farmers and ranchers access to low-interest emergency loans, opening more federal land for grazing and distributing $30 million to get water to livestock.
Good reporting on government handouts to private businesses via CBS.
Google has set up a user-generated Person Finder tool and a Crisis Map for the Philippine floods.
It also has resources and links to data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Philippine Red Cross, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, as well as information on shelters and evacuation facilities, donation centers, weather updates, YouTube videos, and the flooding extent of the Marikina River.
Google earlier created similar tools and resource databases during the onslaught of Sendong in Mindanao last year, as well as during the Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear leak disaster.
Agricultural analyst from JP Morgan states the US will have to turn to importing food from Brazil, possibly Russia. My jaw dropped when she hinted that energy policy is partly to blame, where 40% of corn goes to ethanol production for petrol (though, my understanding is that corn grown for ethanol is not for human consumption. Anyone?).